Short­cuts on Brexit cash al­lowed

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

Min­is­ters are to be al­lowed to spend money on prepa­ra­tions for Brexit with­out wait­ing for par­lia­men­tary ap­proval, it has been an­nounced.

The move comes af­ter the sur­prise rev­e­la­tion by prime min­is­ter Theresa May and chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond on Wed­nes­day that £250mil­lion had been given to four White­hall de­part­ments from Trea­sury re­serves to spend on Brexit.

In a state­ment to the House of Com­mons, chief sec­re­tary to the Trea­sury Liz Truss said a pro­ce­dure known as a “tech­ni­cal di­rec­tion” was be­ing used to en­sure that es­sen­tial prepa­ra­tions were not de­layed by the nor­mal re­quire­ment for all spend­ing to be au­tho­rised by leg­is­la­tion.

“It is im­por­tant that de­part­ments can start spend­ing to pre­pare for Brexit when they need to do so,” said Ms Truss.

“De­lay­ing spend un­til leg­is­la­tion has reached Royal As­sent could jeop­ar­dise readi­ness for Brexit.

“To ad­dress this, for the small pro­por­tion of spend­ing af­fected, min­is­ters can is­sue a tech­ni­cal di­rec­tion, al­low­ing crit­i­cal spend­ing to be in­curred ahead of Royal As­sent, whilst en­sur­ing trans­parency to Par­lia­ment.”

Any min­is­ter us­ing a tech­ni­cal di­rec­tion will have to en­sure de­part­men­tal spend­ing is in all other re­spects “reg­u­lar, proper, fea­si­ble and good value for money”, said Ms Truss.

They will also have to pub­lish a let­ter in­form­ing the House of Com­mons Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee of their ac­tion.

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